Updated On

April 27, 2024

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    If you’re interested in knowing more about bug zappers keep reading our full overview and review of bug zappers.

    Otherwise, you can click here to find our top reviewed outdoor bug zapper, or click here to find our favorite handheld swatter.

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    What Are Bug Zappers?

    Bug zappers are electric devices for killing flying bugs. They can be manufactured as hanging lanterns, plug-in night lights, heater-like panels that sit wherever you place them, or handheld devices that you swat the mosquitoes with.

    How Do Bug Zappers Work?

    Bug zappers consist of a UV light, an electric power source (cord or battery), and a metal grid. The UV light attracts mosquitoes. When they see it, especially at night, they are attracted to it just like the bugs you see flapping around football stadium lights.

    The electrified grid or mesh sits in front of the UV light source. When the bugs encounter the grid they are electrocuted by it, producing the characteristic snap, crackle, and pop associated with bug zappers.

    A tiny spark of light usually accompanies the pop when a flying pest is killed.

    The dead bugs that are killed by the zapper, fall into a catch tray at the bottom of the zapper. In the case of handheld bug zappers, the dead bugs simply fall to the ground wherever you killed them.

    Did You Know

    Specialists advise against using bug zappers for mosquitoes, though they’re great for other flying pests!

    Are Bug Zappers Effective?

    This is where it gets a bit dicey. Without exception, researchers all advise people not to use bug zappers – for mosquitoes.

    Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide, created when we exhale, at levels as small as 50 parts per million. They may be attracted to the UV light from the bug zapper, but as soon as they detect our exhaled carbon dioxide, they change direction and head for us.

    Did You Know

    mosquitoes are more attracted to heat and carbon dioxide than to UV light. Since people emit body heat and carbon dioxide, we’re more attractive to them than the bug zapper is.

    Even Octenol packets, which contain a chemical that mimics human breath, can’t compete with the real thing as an attractant. Given a choice, mosquitoes pick us every time.

    Bug zappers kill huge numbers of non-mosquito bugs though because many of them are attracted by UV light. Research has demonstrated that mosquitoes are only 4.1% – 6.4% of the total number of insects killed each year by bug zappers. The rest are other flying insects.

    If you’re buying an electric bug zapper to kill mosquitoes, it won’t be as effective as you’re hoping it will be. If you’re buying a bug zapper for getting rid of no see ums (biting gnats), moths, fruit flies and other flying pests, then you’ll be well satisfied with the results you get from it.

    How to Use Bug Zappers

    There are two main types of bug zappers; stationary zappers and handheld ones. Each type is used differently.

    The stationary bug zappers can either be the plug-in type or run on batteries, which are often rechargeable ones. These are the ones with a black light in them, either from a light bulb or LED light. They lure and kill insects who are attracted to ultraviolet light.

    Some of them are designed exclusively for outdoor use and general pest control while others are only meant to be an indoor bug zapper. Some of those actually double as a night light as well as an insect killer.

    A handheld bug zapper, sometimes known as an electric fly swatter, typically looks like a tennis racket. When you see a flying insect headed your way, just grab it and swat them.

    You don’t have to mash them against a hard surface the way you do with a regular fly swatter because in places of strings in the “racket” there is another electrified grid. This turns it into an electronic bug zapper for killing bugs in midair.

    You can use handheld bug zappers inside for insect control or use it as an outdoor bug zapper. Because you can pick and choose what to swat, you can kill a large number of insects without killing beneficial insects in the process. You get a bug zapper you can aim.

    Best Bug Zappers

    These are the top 10 bug zappers we reviewed:

    Flowtron Electronic Insect Killer

    This hanging lantern-style bug zapper has a 1-acre killing radius. It contains a 40-watt bulb for maximum black light attraction. An added attractant, in the form of an Octenol attractant packet, helps this mosquito killer draw in mosquitoes.

    Zapping bugs on the non-clogging electronic grid is what this lantern is all about. It’s always on due because it’s a corded model, so you never have to worry about changing batteries. The power cord is only 9 inches long you’ll need an extension cord to use it.

    This is not an inside device though. It’s designed for outdoor use only.

    GTOCS Electric Mosquito Zapper

    Protect your patio, garage, and indoor areas with this high-tech electric bug zapper. It takes care of mosquitoes, gnats, flies, and biting insects to improve the quality of life inside and outside your home.

    The secret is in the 15W UV light that attracts all kinds of unwanted flying pests. Then, with a 4200-volt shock, they’re out of your home for good.

    The ultra-safe housing protects against accidental shock, which is perfect for almost any household environment.

    The GTOCS Electric Mosquito Zapper provides flying insect protection for up to 1,500 square feet and comes with a removable tray for easy cleaning. In addition, it will work flat on a table, or you can hang it anywhere using the attached hook.

    Vanelc Electric Fly Swatter

    The Vanelc Electric Fly Swatter/Bug Zapper uses a unique purple light to attract mosquitoes and flies. It also incorporates the latest racket design to maximize its effectiveness.

    Use it as an electric fly swatter or as a bug zapper while it charges automatically. It comes with a sturdy base for hands-free fly and mosquito control. The device’s quiet operation also makes it so you hardly know it’s there.

    ZAP IT! Bug Zapper

    This mini bug zapper, the Stinger, packs a powerful punch. The grid delivers 3200 volts of knockdown power to eliminate flies, mosquitoes, and other pests with just one swing. Get rid of your old fly swatter because this one is all you’ll need.

    It comes with 2 AA batteries, so you ready to start zapping bugs as soon as it arrives. There’s an LED safety light to let you know when it’s on, but if you or someone else touches it by accident, there are three layers of safety mesh to protect you from getting a jolt.

    Zap It! gives you a 100% lifetime replacement warranty so you never have to worry about it breaking down. Plus, swatting bugs and hearing them die is more fun than playing video games.

    PESUTEN Bug Zapper

    This newly upgraded bug zapper from PESUTEN now uses three modes of operation. It comes with a power-saving switch, and it turns on automatically at night and turns off during daylight hours.

    The PESUTEN Bug Zapper utilizes over 4,200 volts of bug-zapping power to deliver a lethal blow to any fling insect, including:

    • Mosquitoes
    • Flies
    • Moths
    • Gnats
    • Fruit flies

    The UV light attracts the insect without any chemicals or pesticides. The unit can be used either outside or indoors, and it’s easy to clean and maintain.

    BLACK+DECKER Bug Zapper

    This electric bug zapper from BLACK+DECKER uses the latest technology to attract and kill flying pests around your home. It utilizes a powerful UV attractant light that’s accessible and easy to replace.

    It boasts over 4,000 volts of bug-killing strength, so mosquitoes, gnats, and wasps stay away from you and your family. Also, it doesn’t rely on any toxic chemicals, so it’s safe for the environment.

    This bug zapper is perfect for outdoor gatherings, camping, and picnics. It’s completely portable so that you can take it anywhere. With the convenient removable tray, cleanup is a breeze.

    Livin’ Well Bug Zapper – Mosquito Zapper

    This stylish outdoor bug zapper defends up to 1500 square feet of space and fits in with any outside décor on your patio or deck. It’s weatherproof and can sit on the table or be hung from a beam and delivers 4000 volts of a lethal shock to any flying bug that approaches it.

    It has an 18-watt UVA light and a galvanized steel grid around it to zap the bugs. It has a flat base for standing, a hanging hook on top, and a 6-foot electric cord. It is designed to work for up to 8000 hours.

    The insect collection tray unscrews from the bottom to be emptied and cleaned. Just rinse it off and reattach it. It can also be used indoor if you want.

    Pest Killer Bug Zapper

    The Pest Killer Bug Zapper is effective against most flying insects. It uses two ultraviolet lights as the attractant and an impressive 2,400-volt grid.

    Flies, mosquitoes, and moths don’t stand a chance against this effective bug-killing machine. There’s no more need for smelly aerosol sprays. Just plug the unit into any AC outlet, and it will start to work right away.

    The Pest Killer Bug Zapper comes with a pullout tray for easy cleaning. In addition, the safety grid makes it safe for use around children and pets, and it’s ideal for any indoor environment.

    Fluttek Waterproof Bug Zapper

    Fluttek, a trusted name in mosquito zapper technology, has upgraded its latest model to include a weather-resistant housing so it can now be used outdoors.

    The operation of this durable UV bug zapper is easy. Just plug it in and let it do the rest.

    It covers up to 2,000 square feet and can be used for continuous operation since there are no batteries to purchase.

    The Fluttek Waterproof Bug Zapper comes with a 100 percent money-back guarantee and is safe to use around children and pets.

    LiBa Indoor Bug Zapper

    The LiBa Indoor Bug zapper kills mosquitoes, gnats, and other flying pests using the most innovative design in the industry. The bright UV light from this bug-killing machine is one of the strongest available.

    It uses no chemicals or toxic materials, so it’s safe for indoor use. In addition, the non-conducting safety screen keeps children away from the high voltage prongs.

    It also comes with a slip-out tray for easy cleaning without all the mess, and it can be either set on a flat surface or hung on a wall using the convenient mounting chain.

    The bug zapper can be used in restaurants, hospitals, retail spaces, and most other inside locations. Also, it comes with two replacement bulbs for long-lasting, bug-free operation.

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    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Ed Spicer

    Ed Spicer

    Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management.

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